A mother fights to battle against the drugs that killed her daughter one year ago

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   Less than a year after her daughter's death, an area woman has taken a stand and is fighting against the thing that stole her daughter's life.
   Bridgette Boudle was a beautiful 29-year-old woman. Unfortunately, this young woman had been introduced into the world of drugs. On the afternoon of June 30, 2002, police officers and emergency medical service personnel were dispatched to Days Inn on West Elk Avenue on a medical call.
   Emergency workers attempted CPR, but Bridgette was not responding to treatment. She was transported to Sycamore Shoals Hospital where she was pronounced dead at 5 p.m.
   "A year later, her death is still under investigation, but predominately methadone and much smaller amounts of 'killer' drugs were found in her little 90-pound body," said Bridgette's mother, Susan Barry. "According to the medical examiner, these drugs killed her. This should never have happened to Bridgette, her orphaned children or the others of us who adored her."
   The hardest part of dealing with her daughter's death, Susan said, was the way that Bridgette died. "How ridiculous for a 29-year-old girl to die for nothing," she said. "She wasn't ill. She didn't have a disease. I could have handled it easier if she had died of cancer."
   Since Bridgette's death, Susan has started two programs, Everyone's Child and Padlock, as a way to combat the drug problem facing our communities. When something the magnitude of having a child die happens, a person has basically two choices on how to react, Susan said. "It will either kill you or get you motivated to make a change," she said. "You either let them keep stomping all over you or you can get up and stomp back."
   Susan describes Everyone's Child and Padlock as "evolving programs" that will take whatever direction needed in order to help solve the drug problem facing communities. "Anything that helps to solve the problem, I'm all for it," she said.
   One of the areas she hopes to focus on is the law enforcement aspect of fighting the war on drugs. "The police can't do this by themselves," she said. "They need help. We can help them. We are the people. We have eyes and ears and voices."
   According to Susan, one of the biggest obstacles in the war on drugs is the unwillingness of some people to admit that problems with drugs can occur not only in their community, but in their family as well. "No town is exempt. No community is exempt. Almost no family is exempt," she said. "It could happen to you, too. Oh, yes it could."
   Susan said that on many occasions, she tried to help her daughter overcome the dependence she had developed on drugs. "I tried to save her and couldn't. She really did not know what was wrong with her," Susan said. "If she had dried out and gotten off the drugs for a while, she might have been Bridgette again.
   "My dream was for her to be my best friend again someday when this was all over with and they (drug dealers) took what could have been my best friend from me."
   Susan stated that she felt that even having her daughter in jail for drugs would have been better than the way things ended. "I would have been glad if someone had arrested her," she said. "I would much rather visit her in jail than in a graveyard."
   Another of the main focuses of the problem will be to help increase not only the awareness about the level of the drug problem in northeast Tennessee, but also about the devastating effects that drugs have on the people who use and abuse them.
   To help increase community awareness, Everyone's Child will be holding open forum public meetings on June 27 and 28 at the lower end of the Ingle's parking lot on West Elk Avenue.
   "I want all of the good Christian people of the community to come down," Susan said, adding that she asks those who come down to the meetings to wear something orange. "The reason for orange is because we've been the prisoners of these people and it's time to get out of the orange prison gear."